Utah teacher says asking boy to wipe off Ash Wednesday cross was a 'total misunderstanding'

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  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    March 13, 2019 11:09 a.m.

    @Husker2

    When I was in school they called putting my hands in my pockets a "gang affiliation sign" -- the irony was that I was the loner in the entire school; I wasn't affiliated with any gang, I didn't even have any friends to associate with at all. But, that didn't stop the school from telling me I was a gang member because I put my hands in my pockets to keep warm.

    If you want to address gangs, telling students not to wear something is not an effective solution. Look to the science about why children join gangs, and address the root causes.

    Further, they didn't have security cameras when I was in school either; yet they complained when I had my hood on. Obviously wasn't because my face was hard to see on camera.

    MOST dress codes really do not serve any purpose except to ensure children conform like little automatons. Again, I reference the Pink Floyd song Another Brick in the Wall... watch the music video of it; it is fighting against this same type of thing (though from a different era); of teachers trying to force students into a mold; and not allowing individuality.

  • Husker2 , 00
    March 12, 2019 8:03 p.m.

    @Neify

    Sometimes there are practical reasons why schools have certain dress codes. For example, they forbid hats and hoods from being worn indoors because a) hats are often used to display gang affiliation and b) hats and hoods can make it difficult to see a persons face on security cameras. These aren’t just archaic rules from the ‘50s, they enhance school security.

  • SGU84770 St. George, UT
    March 12, 2019 7:49 p.m.

    Relax everybody! A teachable moment and a misunderstanding. As a former Catholic and never member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I do find it ironic that some people are upset that the teacher was not adequately familiar with the Catholic tradition of the ash cross on the forehead. I bet a lot of those people thought that a broadway musical mocking the CJCLDS religion was just perfectly fine.

  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 12, 2019 4:24 p.m.

    @ECR - Burke, VA

    Don't forget Boxing Day. I'm not saying we need to know every little detail, but those things have been around for quite some time now.

    Might I suggest Google? Just a suggestion.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 3:54 p.m.

    screenname said:

    "A member of the LDS Church in Utah (not that we know the religion of this teacher, but who cares, if it can be used to bash the religion?) is more likely to know more about other religions than most anyone else in the US."

    True, LDS people tested better than most, but not better than atheists. Atheists tested the best when it comes to knowledge of religions.

  • by-the-way Baton Rouge, LA
    March 12, 2019 1:56 p.m.

    1. First off when I saw the headline on a mute TV, I did NOT think "Utah."

    2. Ash Wednesday is Not a "Holy Day of Obligation" Catholics are not "required" to go to Mass.

    3. Many Catholics go to evening Mass(on Ash Wednesday) after work/school.

    4. "...In many countries it is common to just have the ashes sprinkled on your head..."(said by THEREALND - Mishawaka, IN)

    5. I find that the Ash Wednesday cross is "weak" and ashes fall off in 3 to 6 hours.

    6. Many Catholics give something up for lent(many kids give up candy -- but not all).

  • Yuge Opportunity Here Mapleton, UT
    March 12, 2019 1:16 p.m.

    With all the political attention, it is only a mater of time before a kid shows up in school with a colander on his head, claiming to be a Pastafarian.

    And our legislature will have to create a new law to close the loophole.

    No news here. A federal court in Nebraska has already wasted time on the subject.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 12:27 p.m.

    @screenname - "Billy, take off the hat in class please." ... "rather than continue to disrupt class."

    I agree with the likelihood of such a scenario. But, I have to ask. Which is more disruption to the class? A boy wearing a hat? Or, the teacher arguing with the boy to take the hat off?

    By far the greater disruption is the teacher, not the student!

    Research shows that best practices for teachers including behavior management is in ignoring poor behavior, and rewarding good behavior. If you really want Billy to take the hat off; praise a student who doesn't have a hat on. That is always far more effective than asking the student to take the hat off, which simply disrupts the learning environment.

    Further, I would put forth that Billy can learn just as easily with his hat on, as off. So, there is no need to change the behavior at all. Simply let Billy wear the hat. If other students are bothered by it; redirect other students to their own learning (again praising good behavior, even that of Billy).

    (For me it was my coat, to stay warm even sometimes with the hood up... I could still hear the teacher just fine, and I could focus on learning when I wasn't shivering.)

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 12:27 p.m.

    @at long last. . .
    "For those apologists who wonder why the big kerfluffle, you might ask yourself why the national media are talking and writing about this. The answer is because, nationally, people cannot understand the evident naivete of Utahns and their 'other than normal' world view on things that the rest of the country view as normal everyday knowledge."

    So what you are saying is that it was national news merely because it reinforced stereotypes regarding Utah - Does that mean it is OK to knee-jerk accept stereotypes regarding Missouri, California, etc? Or is there some expectation to move beyond that?

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    March 12, 2019 12:24 p.m.

    I have taught public high school for 25 years in the Salt Lake and Davis counties. I lived on the west side of Salt Lake with many Catholic friends and colleagues. How many times in my life have I seen an Ash Wednesday cross? Twice. And once was while living a short time in another state. How many times have I seen a Catholic student on Ash Wednesday with an ash cross at school? Never. I teach history and I am passionate about world religions. I would not have missed it. So I am not surprised that a Utah native is unfamiliar with this practice.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    March 12, 2019 12:15 p.m.

    I raised my kids in Illinois. It was normal to see the Mormons excoriated by US History teachers. About half the time the kids were able to turn it into a teaching moment. No one ever lit up Twitter over it.

    And that's where we are here. Twenty years ago no one would have even known about this case. The parents would have complained to the school or the board, and they would have dealt with it.

    It would be interesting to track down the path of this case from the beginning to national media.

    Now...what do you suppose would have happened had the teacher gone to the boy's priest to request a meeting with him, the boy and his family? No cameras. No microphones.

    They could sit in his church, talk and pray together.

    Maybe the class does a filed trip to tour the church and talk about the Lenten season, the dates and what they mean.

    Instead, we get a press conference in the capitol during the legislative session.

    Opportunity lost. No winners.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 12:09 p.m.

    And we again see that religion brings us all together by using one of 'gods' totally reasonable rules for getting to live forever with him (or be sent to hell) depending if we are doing it all correctly.

  • reriding Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 11:36 a.m.

    I can remember seeing repentance ashes on the foreheads of my schoolmates in Clearfield, Utah, another Davis County city, some 60 years ago. Have we forgotten so much? Or are we being willfully ignorant?

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 11:30 a.m.

    I don't blame the teacher for her ignorance. No one person will ever know and understand every single religious worship out there; that is impossible even for those who study many religions.

    But, I do fault the system (the teacher, her administrators, etc. etc.) for intolerance of individuality.

    School is a place for learning; not a place for conforming. So what if a boy comes to school with some "dirt" in his face. Teach him anyway, and ignore the dirt. There is no reason to have even made a fuss about it in the first place (even if you didn't know it was a religious symbol).

    The bigger distraction to learning is when teachers themselves focus on minutia of individuals (what they wear, how they walk, how they smell, etc. etc.) instead of focusing on their mental development (education).

    I repeat, school is a place for learning; not a place for conforming. In the immortal words of Pink Floyd "Hey teachers, leave those kids alone!"

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    March 12, 2019 11:06 a.m.

    For those apologists who wonder why the big kerfluffle, you might ask yourself why the national media are talking and writing about this. The answer is because, nationally, people cannot understand the evident naivete of Utahns and their 'other than normal' world view on things that the rest of the country view as normal everyday knowledge.

  • Flipphone , 00
    March 12, 2019 10:37 a.m.

    Though the fourth-grade teacher said she did not know the ash was a religious symbol.

    She didn't know?

  • CMO Beaver Beaver, UT
    March 12, 2019 10:37 a.m.

    I believe Jesus would say... let it go already

  • Flipphone , 00
    March 12, 2019 10:36 a.m.

    Utah has a problem by not understanding Christianity.

  • Not-in-Utah-anymore , CA
    March 12, 2019 10:33 a.m.

    K - Mchenry, IL: "There are 300,000 Catholics in Utah."
    Lia: "Utahns are socially sheltered and vastly uncultured. There is no arguing this."
    ConradGurch - SLC, Utah: "'An honest mistake'? Not hardly. Ash Wednesday is on every calendar on the planet."

    Growing up in Utah I never saw my Catholic friends or anyone else with ashes on their forehead, and who cared what "Ash Wednesday" meant if you didn't get a day off school? Serving a mission in Brazil (a VERY Catholic nation) I never saw anyone with this mark. Having lived in Los Angeles for nearly 2 decades (which is more religious than you might think) I've only seen it a few times and only understood it when one of my employees explained it to me (after I quietly told her she had something on her forehead). It's easy to make harsh judgments and denigrate others online, but with so many Utahns serving missions they're probably more cultured (in general) than many of the commenters here, and certainly more tolerant.

    The teachers I know have very busy jobs, and I can't imagine trying to wrangle a bunch of 4th graders. Nobody needs to be fired and I'm embarrassed at the role the DesNews had in blowing this out of proportion.

  • fmcgillicutty Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 10:19 a.m.

    Moana Patterson = 100% disingenuous.
    she simply does not like catholics.
    no one is that ignorant. no one.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    March 12, 2019 10:14 a.m.

    ConradGurch said, "Ash Wednesday is on every calendar on the planet."

    So is Yom Kippur, but does everyone know all the practices of those who observe this well known holy day?

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    March 12, 2019 10:14 a.m.

    It is somewhat humorous to read the apologists comments about this sorry behavior by the teacher. My guess is that most of these are members of the local religious majority and don't even try to understand others religious perspectives and what their intolerance does to others.

  • GrainOfSalt Draper, UT
    March 12, 2019 9:46 a.m.

    I have to echo the comments of screenname and kim c. I, too, have lived in predominantly Catholic areas and have even enjoyed "fish Friday" with friends (and I don't care for fish). I've never seen the ash mark on someone's forehead while living there, or anywhere else for that matter. I would have had no clue it was Ash Wednesday save for the article in the newspaper! Is this "insensitive"? I think not. It is life--a busy life. I more often than not also miss St. Patrick's Day, almost missed Valentine's Day, my wife's birthday, etc. Teachers are so busy with large classes and a lot of rambunctious kids. She asked him to clean the dirt off of his face, no big deal. She apologized, which was the right thing to do. There needs to be a little more respect and understanding for teachers and the pressures they are under in the classroom!

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    March 12, 2019 9:26 a.m.

    She doesn't need to fired, but Utah residents need to do a better job of understanding other peoples' religion and respecting those religions. Utah is becoming more and more diverse - get used to it. I learned about Ash Wednesday from my Catholic friends. They're cool with my religion, and I'm cool with theirs.

  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 12, 2019 9:09 a.m.

    Sorry folks but i'm not buying your plea for ignorance here. "An honest mistake"? Not hardly.

    Ash Wednesday is on every calendar on the planet.

  • World_Peace Bountiful, UT
    March 12, 2019 9:03 a.m.

    Either the boy or the teacher are lying. This story and the story I read a few days ago are not lining up.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 8:58 a.m.

    For those disputing the teacher's story, it probably went something like this:

    "Billy, take off the hat in class please."

    "But Mrs. Patterson, it's against my religion to not wear this hat today!"

    "Sure it is, Billy. Take off the hat please."

    If the child continues to press that it's a religious symbol, and the teacher is not aware of such a symbol, she'd be a fool to blindly accept that answer. The logical thing to do would be to have the child take it up with the principal or school district, rather than continue to disrupt class.

  • ute alumni Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 8:58 a.m.

    This is a non story. She apologized. Give me a break. What else should she do? The story was brought to the media's attention by who? As a devout member of the CJCLDS I can't count the number of times negative things have been said to my face and behind my back, mostly in jest. Am I outraged? No. Do I care? No. I have a life, a good one at that. Unfortunately, many others must not.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 8:53 a.m.

    Thanks for the not so subtle jab, ECR, but it's misplaced. Members of your so called "homogenized culture" consistently outperform every other group in knowledge about other religions. A member of the LDS Church in Utah (not that we know the religion of this teacher, but who cares, if it can be used to bash the religion?) is more likely to know more about other religions than most anyone else in the US.

    And if millions of Catholics really wear ashes, then I'm a statistical miracle, as I've lived outside Utah for the past 8 years or so and have never seen anyone wearing ashes on their forehead.

  • DogsBarking Utah/outside of Utah, UT
    March 12, 2019 8:51 a.m.

    So blown out of proportion that it is beyond ridiculous. No one is allowed mistakes. Everything is so agregious and people get so offended over everything. Good grief. Let’s move on.

  • kim c DFW, TX
    March 12, 2019 8:41 a.m.

    I have lived in UT, FL, TN, ID, TX, ND, IL, and AR. I do not celebrate Ash Wednesday. I only realize it’s Ash Wednesday when I happen to notice it in my calendar, happen to see something about it on social media, or happen to see someone who went to mass that day and realize what it is. It’s not necessarily being ignorant as much as unaware. We don’t know what was going on with the teacher. She probably just glanced at this kid, didn’t see anything more than a “smudge” on his forehead and thought to grab a wipe, hand it to the kid asking him to wipe it off. It’s not like the teacher sat down with this kid and had a discussion about it. Maybe the kid mumbled something, maybe she wasn’t understanding what he was saying because it wasn’t on her radar. As someone who lives outside of Utah, I laugh that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is even mentioned because this same incident could have happened in any of the states I have lived in. It’s Davis County, not Utah county. If the teacher had Ash Wednesday on her radar, she would have seen the mark in a different light. I really think the teacher saw it as dirt. As soon as she realized what happened, she apologized.

  • Atlantateacher Acworth, GA
    March 12, 2019 8:39 a.m.

    A teacher's day is so crowded with all the demands being put on them, most of it regulatory. Small wonder that not much thought was put into her request that the student clean up or that his response didn't register as problematic. Teacher overload is so real that time to focus on student needs and communication is pushed aside.

  • Lia , 00
    March 12, 2019 8:11 a.m.

    Utahns are socially sheltered and vastly uncultured.
    There is no arguing this.

  • stevo123 Driggs, ID
    March 12, 2019 8:07 a.m.

    @ Third try, The Todd Weiler angle is, indeed, fascinating.

  • Lia , 00
    March 12, 2019 8:03 a.m.

    "oh please..St. G"
    Then you're not paying attention.

    There are tens of millions more Catholics than LDS-

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    March 12, 2019 7:57 a.m.

    If the ignorance displayed by the teacher involved is not a reason for firing her, I wonder what would be. . . ? It isn't as if the Roman Catholic church is some sideline, somewhat Christian cult. Ash Wednesday observance by placing an ash cross on one's forehead is certain commonplace in locations as remote as rural and very Protestant northern Missouri and has been for my lifetime of 80 years. If you watch television, you likely saw some talking heads with ash crosses on their foreheads, if you were looking.

    It is apparent the teacher did not listen to the student's explanation. As egregious as the forced removal of the religious symbol is, it is perhaps worse that she didn't listen to the student's explanation. Firing is deserved.

  • Lia , 00
    March 12, 2019 7:52 a.m.

    She 'had no idea" it was had religious significance?
    Even after the boy explained???

    Utahns need to get with the real world program.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2019 7:45 a.m.

    I also have lived out of state many years ( yes, I'm old ) including foreign countries in areas heavily Catholic and have not heard of this practice. On the other hand, it is well-known that those of The Hindu faith have distinctive marks on their forehead. And other cultures may do so as well. What about gang markings ? We may need some research into this situation and some serious thinking. One thing is certain : school is getting a lot more complicated.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    March 12, 2019 7:21 a.m.

    I'm glad everyone is talking about this and helping to educate and understand the issue. The teacher seems to be genuinely asking for forgiveness and acknowledging her ignorance of the subject in question. That's the first step in making things better. And I believe that much, although certainly not all, of the prejudice people have towards others is a matter of ignorance rather than hatred. When someone is raised in and works in a homogenized community, they might not have the skills to understand the cultural practices of others outside their circle of exposure.

    Kudos to everyone involved for handling this potentially explosive subject with respect and understanding. This exposure should go a long way in helping others avoid similar circumstances.

  • THEREALND Mishawaka, IN
    March 12, 2019 7:12 a.m.

    "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

    When you stop listening, you stop learning. This doesn't even have to be about religion. Hypothetically, the boy could have had a medical condition that required an ointment be applied to his forehead and she would have made him wipe it off.

    Regarding the teacher's claim that it just didn't look like a cross, it doesn't have to. In many countries it is common to just have the ashes sprinkled on your head.

    Bottom line, why did she just ignore her students well articulated explanation? It seems that she also needs to learn how to listen if you buy her story now. She still doesn't seem to even acknowledge the fact that she blew off the student's explanation. If she can't acknowledge that, what has she actually learned?

  • Den Den West Jordan, UT
    March 12, 2019 7:12 a.m.

    Sadly, there is isolation of many born and raised in Utah. They never get out, they don't have many friends outside of their LDS circles.

    My point, this was done in ignorance. But, perhaps she should have reached out to the office before making the child remove the cross.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    March 12, 2019 7:02 a.m.

    Parents contacting teachers when something is out of the norm? Catholics have been getting ashes in the US before it became a country? There are 300,000 Catholics in Utah. A public school comprises kids from many faiths. If she were a 20 something teacher fresh out of BYU I could understand the mistake. I am pleased she said she was sorry and the boy forgave her. But this notion that the teacher was wronged cause the parent had not warned her that the kid would have ashes I can’t understand.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    March 12, 2019 5:30 a.m.

    I had to read two articles from two newspapers, but I think I have unpacked this Astroturf event.

    It was reported that the press conference was called by Sen. Weiler. It was a PR event. Someone organized the speakers, set up the podium, sent out the press release, created the human wallpaper (kids, placards, parents...), and ran the show.

    Not exactly the work of a fourth grade teacher.

    The message sent, from the mouth of Weiler: "this is something that happens when people aren't necessarily exposed to other cultures, other religions. It's not always, necessarily, mean-spirited."

    My translation: Here in Utah we may be clueless, but we aren't cruel.

    Should she be fired? Well, not for the classroom faux pas. But she was asked not to talk to the press about it. That tells me she wanted to rationalize, not repent. She hasn't learned a thing.

    As for Sen. Weiler's stunt, I'm thinking that if we can just get to the Great Hall in Emerald City and approach the Wizard, he'll solve all our problems. Institutional arrogance at its worst.

  • emb Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 12, 2019 4:45 a.m.

    Our fine educators deal with an amazing array of things every day. Cut them some slack. Looks like a very fine teacher and we need them. Most important lesson of the year might be about how we deal with those who make a mistake. We all appreciate those who accept an apology and allow us to move forward.

  • Cool Cat Cosmo Payson, UT
    March 11, 2019 11:35 p.m.

    Rlynn makes a valid point: there are huge discrepancies between what the teacher is saying now, versus what the young man said earlier regarding the story. The stories are basically mutually exclusive, so which one is it? Seems to me, that the teacher was not being sensitive, didn't listen to him, and removed what was a sacred symbol from the boy without due cause.

    I'm a teacher, and we all make mistakes, but I believe that owning up to those mistakes should be part of the process. Somebody is not telling the truth here, and I'd like to know who. I do not believe that this teacher should be fired for she did, but it shouldn't have happened, and I sincerely hope that she and all other Utahn educators have learned a valuable lesson from this, I know that I have.

  • Oh, please! Saint George, UT
    March 11, 2019 11:13 p.m.

    I was raised in Utah and lived in the Washington, D.C. area and south of there for five years. I worked among people of all faiths. I'm well-educated and worked in the U.S. Capitol for congressional leadership. I have never seen ashes on a forehead before! A sister-in-law is an avid Catholic. I've never known her to do this. My brother-in-law is Presbyterian. I have no idea if they do anything similar. I don't expect them to know what I do in my religion. But we RESPECT each other, ask questions, learn from each other, and regard each other feelings.

    This teacher did nothing wrong. It was out of the "norm" for her, Shamrock. She apologized. Move on, people! It was everyone else who threw her under the bus. Lighten up!

  • WallE Walla Walla, WA
    March 11, 2019 11:07 p.m.

    I made the same mistake of not recognizing the ash cross years ago in the military. I resolved to be more cognizant of the religious holidays of others, and I've enjoyed the social interaction learning more about the faith and traditions of friends.

    I would like to add that when I was a kid and came to Utah in late July I thought the whole place was crazy celebrating the 24th of July as I didn't know what made that day special. I didn't understand how the 4th and the 24th could get mixed up...

    Allowances should be made for people who are kind but unaware...

  • JSB , 00
    March 11, 2019 10:52 p.m.

    In my first year of teaching, I was helping the sophomores with their assembly. The kids in one vocal act all wore T-shirts. It wasn't until after the assembly I found out that one girl was so upset she was crying. Her father was the leader of a small conservative Christian church that believed that girls shouldn't wear T-shirt because they were immodest. If I had known I would have changed something in this student production. Misunderstandings like this are an inevitable part of life. But some insecure people seem to be looking for a reason to take offense at the slightest thing and harshly judge.

  • utahmtnman Park City, UT
    March 11, 2019 10:51 p.m.

    Thanks Senator, for trying to make some lemon aid here.

    I just have one request of the school district--please name the date you provided diversity training that included Ash Wednesday and a copy of the notice that Ash Wednesday was coming up so teachers could be fore-warned. Most of my life has been spent in Utah, but I lived in California my teen years and had a Catholic girlfriend most of that time, and I have never heard of that tradition until this year. If there's a good side to this, its that all Utah teachers-and a lot of other people-- now know!

  • rlynn Brandon, FL
    March 11, 2019 7:18 p.m.

    So I am confused. First the teacher states that: "the boy came into her classroom "with what appeared to be dirt on his forehead. I gave him a wet wipe to clean it off. I had no idea it was a religious symbol. When I learned it was a sacred symbol for Ash Wednesday, I immediately apologized to the boy and family," she said.

    But the student states: "He explained to her that it was Ash Wednesday, it was from church, and he was not allowed to take it off." And I believe in last Monday's article he stated the he was forced to take the ashes off.

    So, which story is true? If after the student explained that it was Ash Wednesday and the teacher still made remove the ashes, she is at fault. I would also ask how good of a Teacher is she? I was teacher and raised in Utah, I knew what Ash Wednsday is.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    March 11, 2019 6:39 p.m.

    Over a third of the nation belongs to denominations that have Ash Wednesday services (of course, not all of them go to those but still) with this so generally one considers it to be common knowledge.

    Of course that kind of assumption can be kind of flawed considering half the state is LDS and there's all sorts of things many non-members wouldn't know.

    @GrainofSalt
    "by assuming that the offending teacher or others who make innocent mistakes are somehow ignorant"

    The only way it can be an innocent mistake is if the teacher is ignorant of the situation.

  • williwawmom Bountiful, UT
    March 11, 2019 6:31 p.m.

    I’m so relieved that the truth is being heard. Hopefully Deseret news will follow-up if the school district’s representative retracts their comment. It’s bad enough that the teacher wasn’t allowed to defend herself before this went national but for the school board to not get to the bottom of it before throwing her under the bus is very sad.

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    March 11, 2019 6:27 p.m.

    @Oh Please wrote: "How about the parents contact the teacher ahead of time and let the teacher know that something out of the norm for the area and the child will be taking place."

    I assume the teacher's intentions were benign, but the fact is, ashes on the forehead on Ash Wednesday are not "out of the norm" for millions and millions of Christians. Just as a teacher in Chicago should be sensitive to Mormon or Muslim beliefs, a teacher in Utah should be sensitive to the beliefs of students who aren't LDS. Assuming that Mormon traditions are the "norm" and that other traditions are "outside the norm" is a good example of why it can sometimes be frustrating to be a non-Mormon in Utah.

  • GrainOfSalt Draper, UT
    March 11, 2019 6:02 p.m.

    Weiler said "this is something that happens when people aren't necessarily exposed to other cultures, other religions. It's not always, necessarily, mean spirited."

    Senator Weiler should apologize for making this very insensitive comment. He is taking on a morally superior tone by assuming that the offending teacher or others who make innocent mistakes are somehow ignorant and therefore insensitive. Ironically his statement is insensitive.

    In this case this teacher made an honest mistake that has been blown way out of proportion.

  • Oh, please! Saint George, UT
    March 11, 2019 6:02 p.m.

    Diversity training for the teachers? Sounds good. Let's see, every teacher will have to memorize all the nuances of every religion and cult of a child/family that might enter into that district's boundaries? Since the Wasatch is a melting pot of cultures, that could be quite a task.

    How about the parents contact the teacher ahead of time and let the teacher know that something out of the norm for the area and the child will be taking place.

    This is, as previously mentioned, media overreach. An honest mistake. Just let it alone and quit beating the teacher and school up over this.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    March 11, 2019 5:51 p.m.

    Honest mistake.

    Another example of the media over reacting.